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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Biggest takeaways from Arizona’s defeat of Chico State

Arizona+forward+Ryan+Anderson+%2812%29+gets+low+while+playing+against+Chico+State+in+McKale+Center+Sunday%2C+Nov.+8.
Tyler Baker

Arizona forward Ryan Anderson (12) gets low while playing against Chico State in McKale Center Sunday, Nov. 8.

It came as no surprise to Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller who his star player was come Sunday night against Chico State. None other than senior transfer Ryan Anderson.

Anderson and the Wildcats defeated Chico State 90-54 in McKale Center during what was most the first time Tucson fans had the chance to watch the 2015-2016 Arizona Wildcats in action.

From the first few minutes, it had appeared that Arizona basketball hadn’t changed, despite the laundry list of new faces and players.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 12-0 lead. That would be cut to single digits just minutes later when the group sitting on the bench came in.

You can tell that this group hasn’t worked together quite as much and is still learning each other’s game. But there were many positives coming out of Sunday’s exhibition.

First off, the returning seniors showed up. Kaleb Tarczewski, coming off an ankle injury, boasted 12 points and four rebounds. Gabe York showed his shooting touch, notching 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Anderson led all Wildcats with 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

Impressive numbers coming from Anderson was more than expected for the player who has won the gold jersey in almost every practice this season. His heart and ability to grab rebounds could be the reason the Wildcats make it far in the NCAA Tournament.

“Ryan is a workhorse for us,” Tarczewski said. “He’s always around the ball. He’s always in the right position at the right time. The past couple of years, we’ve been a big team and have some good fours. We have had a lot of good guys. But I’d say Ryan is just as good if not better than all of them. He’s going to be a huge part of our team this year.”

The other two starters in Mark Tollefsen and Kadeem Allen had OK games. Tollefsen had four points and two assists. Allen had five points and four assists. Maybe the rust affected the two players, who are expected to play far better in later games than they did Sunday.

A huge x-factor coming off the bench for the UA was Allonzo Trier, who added 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. The one downfall to Trier on Sunday was his 3-point shooting, from which he shot 1-4 from the arc.

In fact, 3-point shooting was poor overall from Arizona. Shooting just 15.4 percent from the 3-point line won’t cut it later in the season.

In the conference after the game, Miller defended his team and said that this is one of the best 3-point teams that he has ever coached.

The last scholarship player to enter the game for Arizona was Justin Simon. In the first play that he touched the ball, Simon had a monster dunk that electrified the McKale crowd.

“This is a different team than we’ve had in the past,” Tarczewski said. “We’re really young. Even the older guys we have haven’t played together much. I have no doubt in my mind, based on the guys here and their work ethic, that it will all come together.”

Tarczewski is absolutely right. This team is full of new faces and players that Tucson fans will have to learn. But they also have the chance to go far and have already been predicted to win the Pac-12 Conference Championship.

Big things are coming this season from Arizona basketball. You mark my words. In the meantime, this team has a lot of work to do to ensure they exude the same success on the floor as they do off.


Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.


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